Kits and food pathogen testing automation, standard and chromogenic media, and immune sera help food science laboratories improve food safety and risk management by minimizing the time and cost of microbiological and molecular food testing and ensuring reproducible results.

These are just some of the advantages afforded to Jeffrey Krawczak, lab director at Alliant Food Safety Labs in Farmington, CT, by virtue of the company’s partnership with Bio-Rad Laboratories.

“We have been able to grow the pathogen testing business, which has been on the rise in industry, as everyone moves towards a higher level of food safety analysis to meet regulatory expectations that continue to drive growth in this segment of the business,” he notes.

Alliant Food Safety Labs, LLC is an ISO 17025-accredited independent laboratory serving the food industry in the field of food contract analysis testing for over 15 years for clients from around the U.S., with a major focus in the Northeast. Alliant offers food safety services including microbiology, nutritional and allergen analyses, along with potable water analysis, nutrition facts labeling, shelf life and challenge studies, thermal process authority approvals, and quality management and audit consulting. The company’s staff comes exclusively from the food industry and so is able to assist clients by having extensive experience and familiarity with a manufacturing setting. Alliant’s expertise is broad with U.S. Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture regulations, as well as Global Food Safety Initiative requirements, and can assist companies trying to meet the demands of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Alliant’s partnership with Bio-Rad came about as the result of the implementation of Bio-Rad’s iQ-Check® system into their laboratory workflow.

“Our account manager, Terri Davis, helped us implement the iQ-Check Real-Time PCR system 5 years ago. With this added quick pathogen analysis, we have been able to provide faster time-to-results for clients to release product earlier or react quicker to facility and product issues. iQ-Check was chosen over other systems due to ease of use and software capabilities,” says Jeff.

The iQ-Check system takes full advantage of real-time PCR to provide a faster and reliable solution in food pathogen testing. It is flexible and open, allowing industrial microbiology laboratories fast control and reaction in their testing and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points procedures. The iQ-Check food pathogen detection kits use highly sensitive DNA primers and patented fluorescent probes specific to the target organism. As part of the complete pathogen detection and identification workflow, Bio-Rad also offers enrichment media, chromogenic media, standardized reagents, biochemical confirmation tests and validated equipment and software.

The use of the iQ-Check system has allowed Alliant to expand its operations, with the iQ-Check Prep automation solution playing a significant role in that process.

“As business continues to grow in the food safety and manufacturing arena, we have grown beyond the current 3,500-sq. ft. lab and are now moving to a 13,000-sq. ft., state-of-the-art facility that will be able to provide additional testing as well as opportunities to add new abilities and technology to support our current client base and continue to attract new business partners. Over 70 percent of our testing is automated to support our internal quality systems,” Jeff explains. He determined Bio-Rad’s completely integrated automated solution for food pathogen testing to be a significant advantage for the business.

“Due to the high sensitivity and specificity of real-time PCR, a single overnight enrichment is enough to obtain results equivalent or better than the standard reference methods with many 12-hour protocols developed. It is very easy for the analyst to use the system, which provides full traceability by linking to the laboratory information management system. The iQ-Check Prep solution also provides increased confidence in results through its high reproducibility and robustness of routine testing. It fits seamlessly into our laboratory workflow and is an ideal solution for us as we increase our testing throughput.”

The adaptability and throughput of the iQ-Check Prep solution has enabled Alliant to focus on sample throughput while allowing the lab to shift its attention to helping support its customer base on a more personal level.   

“Bio-Rad’s other products, including its RAPID chromogenic medias, as well as its prepared enrichment media have helped us expedite sample prep as well as cultural identifications. We get one-on-one support and routine visits to assure that we have the best product they can provide to enable us to stay up with the technologies,” mentions Jeff.

Alliant’s partnership with Bio-Rad Laboratories continues to reap enormous benefits. The company’s priority is to continue to build on its expertise and excel into the future, firmly believing that it is dedicated employees and demanding customers who make the business the success that it is. Alliant will continue to look to future food safety technologies from Bio-Rad for its ongoing expansion and growth. Alliant’s mission, “The continual pursuit of excellence remains central to our business,” is at the core of this partnership with Bio-Rad.